In this new novel, the acclaimed author of The Thief melds the distinctive madness of those who fall in thrall to religious cults with a continuing exploration of the psychology that leads to acts of evil?a constant theme in his works since he first arrived on the literary stage.
Tōru Narazaki and Ryōko Tachibana meet as they are leaving the library. They feel a mutual attraction and begin spending time together, but then one day Tachibana disappears. Narazaki asks a detective friend to look for her, and learns that Tachibana used to belong to a religious group headed up by an elderly war veteran named Matsuo, who has turned his self-study of Buddhism and cosmology into a new theological system. When Narazaki visits this group, he is told that Tachibana is actually a member of another religious organization shrouded in mystery known as Cult X, which has defrauded Matsuo’s group.
Meanwhile, a menacing plan is taking shape at Cult X. Without telling the group’s founder and leader Sawatari, council member Takahara and some cohorts have amassed 15 machine guns and filled a truck with explosives. In the process of trying to find out more about the organization, Narazaki ends up being abducted by them. After several female adherents “break” Narazaki, Sawatari orders him to spy on Matsuo’s group. The plot thickens as readers learn of the complicated history between the two founders, a global terrorist organization enters the picture, a TV station is occupied, and public security agencies become involved. To die for one’s beliefs or to live for one’s love . . . A noir author who has consistently focused on the dark side of human nature grapples on a grand scale with sex and evil, faith and love, life and death.